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You’ve been hearing about it for weeks now, but starting today, you’ll be able to learn definitively: Was your data among the 87 million accounts shared with political data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica?
In mid-March, whistleblower Christopher Wylie revealed that political data company Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed the data of more than 50 million Facebook users. The data was gathered through a personality test called “thisisyourdigitallife.” This connected app gathered data on 270,000 users, plus all of their friends. That information was then illicitly shared with Cambridge Analytica, which then used it to aid the 2016 Trump presidential campaign. Wednesday, Facebook upped its estimate of the number of people whose data was “improperly shared” with Cambridge Analytica from 50 million to 87 million.
After initially remaining silent on the scandal, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has since apologized, which included buying full-page newspaper ads to share his message. Zuckerberg will testify before Congress on April 10 and 11.
How to tell if your Facebook data was used by Cambridge Analytica
To see if you are among those affected, you will get a notice at the top of your News Feed on Monday, April 9. Below that, the notice will include a link you can click to see which third-party apps are still accessing your data. From there, you can use Facebook’s bulk-delete feature to eliminate access of those you want to quit sharing data with.
In a blog post, Facebook shared screengrabs of what this will look like, which you can see below.
Regardless of whether your data is among the Cambridge Analytica set, chances are that your public data has still been scraped at some point. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently admitted that “most” of its 2.2 billion users have likely had at least some of their data scraped by “malicious actors.” Facebook disabled phone number search and email-based search, the capabilities that allowed for this scraping, last week.
Facebook has updated and simplified its user privacy settings, among other platform-wide policy changes, to help ensure that this sort of thing doesn’t happen in the future.
Christina Bonnington is a tech reporter who specializes in consumer gadgets, apps, and the trends shaping the technology industry. Her work has also appeared in Gizmodo, Wired, Refinery29, Slate, Bicycling, and Outside Magazine. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a background in electrical engineering.